Newly-appointed Sillamäe coach Sergei Frantsev will take charge of his first home game, as Nõmme Kalju travel east on Monday.
The ex-Kursk Avangard boss oversaw a narrow 1-0 defeat at Flora in his first match, and his early reign continues to be a challenging one as Kalju, fresh from their 1-0 win over Lech Poznan in the Europa League, will be looking to continue their good form.
FOCUS ON SILLAMAE (5/10, 34 pts)
Following four straight league wins in a row, Sillamäe’s form has become a little patchy since their European adventure started. One win, one draw, and two defeats in their most recent four matches has seen them slip to fifth in the table behind Infonet, and a 4-0 home defeat to Krasnodar in their Europa League Second Round Qualifying First Leg match in midweek can’t have done much for their confidence.
Sillamäe’s home and away records are almost identical this season, giving an overall balance to their relative performances at any stadium.
Frantsev stuck with a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation in his first match, but made two changes from their previous game; Vnukov replaced Silich in the centre of midfield, and Baguzis came in for Volodin in defence, with Cheminava moving to right-back.
They lined-up with the same starting XI for their 4-0 drubbing at home to Krasnodar in their Europa League match in midweek, with Cheminava swapping places with Dudarev to move back into the centre. Some dissection may have taken place since this humbling, but it is unlikely that sweeping changes will be made unless fatigue is an issue.
Kabaev should start up front, with Mashichev, Ratnikov and Murikhin across the attacking midfield line from left to right. Should Frantsev decide to try something different, Yaroslav Kvasov may be given a start.
Sillamäe have no new injury concerns, but they need to be mindful of the fact that Volodin, Novikov, Kvasov, Tjapkin, and Murikhin are all just one yellow card away from suspension.
Key man: Deniss Tjapkin
Sillamäe will need Tjapkin to help shackle Wakui in the centre of the park, and to get his side’s attacks started. With Kalju struggling with injuries, Sillamäe could increase their chances greatly by blunting the threat of the Japanese attacker.
FOCUS ON KALJU (3/10, 42 pts)
Three wins out of four in the league (the other being a draw) and positive performances in European competition have helped Kalju get over the two defeats in a row they suffered a few weeks back.
Their apparent struggles against the big teams are threatening to derail their title bid, as are recent injuries to key players, but they need to do ensure they beat the teams below them too in order to be in a position to benefit from any points taken against Levadia and Flora.
Injuries to Nunes, Toomet, Sisov, Neemelo, and Allan Kimbaloula have wiped out almost half of Kalju’s starting eleven. Therefore, they need their fringe players to step up and deliver the goods here.
Robert Kirss is likely to be given a start in attack in front of Wakui, whose hat-trick last weekend saw off Tammeka, although Jarmo Ahjupera is pushing for a place in the side. Damiano Quintieri will provide an edge from the wings, with Karl Mool or Juri Jevdokimov mirroring him on the opposite side.
Fabio Prates and Reginald ensure Kalju have some balance and quality in the centre of the park, and Alo Barengrub will return from league suspension in the heart of the defence in place of Martin Vunk, who could challenge Prates and Reginald for a starting berth.
Vunk is one yellow card from suspension.
Key Man: Wakui
With key players missing through injury, Kalju will be looking to Wakui in the middle to create chances and bring the likes of Quintieri into the game.
Both sides should field fairly similar formations, so individual battles here will be key. Wakui will prove to be a menace in the middle, but if Sillamäe’s central midfielders can stop him having his way, they will decrease Kalju’s threat considerably.
Toomet and Allan are big losses for Kalju, but Quintieri will need to be watched as his match-winning ability will be ever present.
Both sides may be feeling the effects of busy match schedules, so a tight, tactical battle is sure to ensue.
SILLAMAE KALEV VS. NÕMME KALJU HEAD-TO-HEAD
(last 6 Premium Liiga Matches via WhoScored.com)
Sillamae’s wins: 0
Kalju’s wins: 3
Goals scored by Sillamae: 2
Goals scored by Kalju: 7
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Sillamae's rows: Dmitri Mashitsev (LM) 47 goals*
*NB: Vjatseslav Zahovaiko (CF) is Sillamae's leading scorer with 175 goals, but misses out due to injury
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Kalju's rows: Juri Jevdokimov (CF) 77 goals*
*NB: Tarmo Neemelo (CF) is Kalju's leading scorer with 160 goals, but misses out due to injury
ODDS (the figures may be subject to variation)
More odds about this game available at
BETTING TIP (by Chris Johs)
Both sides have been involved in European as well as domestic competition lately, and legs are bound to be tired. Kalju's second round first leg victory over Lech Poznan was far more impressive than Sillamae's 4-0 defeat to Krasnodar, and they will be fancied to do the business here.
However, with the injuries they have, Kalju could falter here. Sillamae will be looking to bounce back as soon as possible, and could hold Kalju as Infonet did a week or two ago. Tired legs will probably limit the amount of goals flying in, and Kalju might just manage that little bit extra needed, but a low-scoring draw is a big possibility here, particularly if recent matches are anything to go by (3 draws in 6 matches between the sides, just 9 goals in those 6 matches).
THE REFEREES SQUAD
(statistics courtesy of Heigo Niilop)
Extra work for Kristo Külljastinen. After directing Lokomotiv vs. Levadia on Friday (1-5) he was also entrusted with the direction of the big clash.
This will be his 23rd game and so far he has shown the same amount of cards as until Friday as his notebook stayed clean during the 90' in Jõhvi.
81 yellow cards shown (3,85 per game) and never the need to show a straight red to anyone. Nonetheless, he gave a red card for double booking only once.
INFO ABOUT THE GAME
2€ the entrance to the Sillamäe Kalev Stadium for the kick-off at 19:00 EEST (18:00 CEST) on Monday the 21st of July. Discounted ticket (1€) for certain categories. Streaming will be available here at Postimess.ee few minutes before the game.